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Ef themes 0.3.0 for GNU Emacs

The ef-themes are a collection of light and dark themes for GNU Emacs whose goal is to provide colourful (“pretty”) yet legible options for users who want something with a bit more flair than the modus-themes (also designed by me). Watch the presentation of the original version, which demonstrates the first eight themes in the collection and explains a few technical points: https://protesilaos.com/codelog/2022-08-18-ef-themes-demo/.

Version 0.3.0 on 2022-08-20

User-facing changes

  • Revised the minimum Emacs version of the ef-themes package. It now depends on Emacs 27.1 instead of Emacs 28.1. Relevant internal adjustments were made, some of which are courtesy of Philip Kaludercic: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/ef-themes/patches/34787.

    [ Philip has assigned copyright to the Free Software Foundation. This is necessary for all non-trivial patches. ]

  • Added two new themes to the collection which are designed for users with red-green colour deficiency/blindness (deuteranopia). In simple terms, their effective palette consists of blue, yellow, and the base tones. The themes are named descriptively: ef-deuteranopia-dark and ef-deuteranopia-light. Announcement with screenshots: https://protesilaos.com/codelog/2022-08-19-ef-themes-deuteranopia/.

  • Reconsidered the principle of what kind of user options are acceptable. Those which affect colours directly will never be a part of the project. Others are subject to consideration with a preference for simplicity. Detailed documentation to do-it-yourself will still be preferred over user options.

  • Implemented the ef-themes-headings user option which provides the mechanism to change the weight and height of each heading level, as well as set it to variable-pitch (i.e. a proportionately spaced font). The doc string of that variable or the relevant entry in the manual explain the particularities and provide code samples.

    To accommodate this variable, the default style of all headings has been revised to remove the added height they once had. Users who preferred the previous style must add the following to their configuration BEFORE the code that actually loads the theme (e.g. a load-theme call):

    ;; Restore height of each heading level to its previous value.
    (setq ef-themes-headings
          '((0 . (1.9))
            (1 . (1.8))
            (2 . (1.7))
            (3 . (1.6))
            (4 . (1.5))
            (5 . (1.4))
            (6 . (1.3))
            (7 . (1.2))
            (t . (1.1))))
    ;; First set the above configuration, then load the theme (changes to
    ;; user options require a theme re-load).
    (load-theme 'ef-summer :no-confirm)
  • Introduced the command ef-themes-toggle and the companion user option ef-themes-to-toggle. To use the command, one must first set their two preferred Ef themes, such as with this:

    (setq ef-themes-to-toggle '(ef-summer ef-winter))

    The names of all the themes are included in the ef-themes-collection variable. Though recall that the commands ef-themes-select and ef-themes-load-random still use the entire collection (read their doc strings or consult the manual).

  • Fixed how themes are made available at startup. Before, there was a mistake to how items were registered as “known” and were thus not recognised by our commands, even though the standard load-theme worked as expected. Thanks to Iris Garcia for reporting the problem in issue 2 on the GitHub mirror: https://github.com/protesilaos/ef-themes/issues/2. It was propagated to users as version 0.2.1 of the ef-themes.

  • Added support for these packages:

    • chart
    • doom-modeline (tentative)
    • info
    • org-habit
    • rcirc
    • smerge

    Thanks to Spike-Leung for reminding me about org-habit in issue 5 over at the GitHub mirror: https://github.com/protesilaos/ef-themes/issues/5.

    [ Remember that if a package looks awfully out of place, it is not support (yet). ]

  • Expanded and/or clarified the manual, including an answer to the question of what “Ef” means:

    “Ef” is a Greek word (ευ), commonly used as a prefix to denote that something is good, nice, and/or easy. For example, eftopia (ευτοπία) is the opposite of dystopia (δυστοπία): a good place as opposed to a bad place.

  • Helped Adam Sherwood figure out why zsh-autosuggestions did not look right. In short: this has nothing to do with Emacs. Try to avoid termcolor{0,7,8,15} as a default. Prefer the remaining nominal accent colours, as every theme is more likely to work with those, whereas, say, termcolor0 (“black”) will not be legible with dark themes. This was done in issue 3 on the GitHub mirror: https://github.com/protesilaos/ef-themes/issues/3.

Internal refinements

  • Recalibrated lots of colour values and mappings across several themes. The changes are small and help with the internal consistency of each theme. Consult the Git commit log for the minutiae.

  • The internal faces for headings are now done with a dotimes call on custom-declare-face instead of a bespoke macro. Thanks to Philip Kaludercic for the patch: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/ef-themes/patches/34791.

  • Applied file-equal-p for the registration of the themes in the relevant path. Doing so is generally more resilient than equal and might avoid an unexpected edge case in the future. Thanks to Philip Kaludercic for the patch: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/ef-themes/patches/34789.

  • Opted for {if,when}-let* over {if,when}-let. The former do not support the obsolete single-binding syntax, and make clear that both macros operate more like let* than let by evaluating and binding variables sequentially. Thanks to Philip Kaludercic for the patch: https://lists.sr.ht/~protesilaos/ef-themes/patches/34787.

Acknowledgement for the first version of the project

Thanks to user Summer Emacs whose feedback helped define the identity of the ef-summer theme. Summer’s comments pertained to the need to increase the occurence of yellow as the theme used to be predominantly magenta and purple. I thus implemented the revised colour mapping and made the relevant adjustments. Without Summer’s comments, ef-summer wouldn’t have been as pretty.

Version 0.2.0 on 2022-08-18

[ Added after the fact on 2022-08-20 ]

No release notes were produced at the time. This version included various stylistic refinements and added commands for (i) loading a theme and (ii) previewing a theme’s colour palette.

The commands which load a theme call the ef-themes-post-load-hook. Advanced and/or do-it-yourself users may have a use for it. The manual will eventually provide specific code samples.

Version 0.1.0 on 2022-08-17

[ Added after the fact on 2022-08-20 ]

There were no release notes for it. It established the foundations of the project: the main macros, the character of each theme, etc. Check the Git commit log for more.